When we moved to our house 4 1/2 years ago we didn't move into a neighborhood, we moved into an extended family. Our neighbors are some of the kindest, most caring people we have ever met and we are so blessed to live in such a small radius of these amazing people. The day we moved in we were greeted with banana bread, brownies, lasagna, and champagne from people that lived in the houses directly next to or across from us. We thought it was a nice gesture, but thought it would end up being a relationship we had growing up with our neighbors, just that- neighborly. Our neighbors are much more to us. They truly are an extended family.
We have celebrated Christmases, Easters, birthdays, Mom's night out, summer nights, and more together and they have been there for us through some of our best and worst of times. Tonight we got together for a holiday party, and after a while Linda asked Phil and I to sit on the ottoman and we were pleasantly surprised with a baby shower! It was so sweet and very unexpected. And it the first baby shower of mine that I attended! When I was pregnant with Josh and Joey I was put on bed rest and told by my doctors not to attend my shower because of the fragile state of the pregnancy. So I stayed home and put on a skirt to feel like I was a part of the shower, while Phil had to entertain the ladies on his own. I knew the shower was over when there was a knock on the door followed by my neighbors coming in to cheer me up and make me feel a part of the party. They also put together a magnificent basket of things for me to do, pamper, read, and pass the time with while on bed rest. They have always been there to offer help in any way. When Josh was in the NICU for 126 days, they never tired in asking how he was, offering babysitting for Joey, or just talking. After Joshua came home from the NICU they came over to celebrate his homecoming; holding him, meeting him, and accepting him. When Joshua passed, they rotated making meals for us and made sure we were doing okay. They had the tree planted in the park behind our house with the plaque for Josh so that we can look out our kitchen window and be comforted. They have never been afraid to mention his name. Even the kids paint pictures and talk about Josh which warms our hearts to no end.
Thinking about bringing Josh to his resting place brings back many, many powerful memories. One image that I will never get out of my head is one from the church when we were leaving. After the funeral mass, Phil, Joey and I had settled into the limo and were waiting for the procession to the cemetery to begin. Outside of the church, watching the cars line up were our neighbors standing silently. Seeing them all shoulder to shoulder lined up on the sidewalk portrayed so perfectly the strength, love and support that a family has for one of its members. Thank you for taking us as a part of your family.
(some pictures are of Joey)